Measurement in Science

Edited by Alessandro Giordani (Università Cattolica di Milano, Università della Svizzera Italiana)
About this topic
Summary Measurement is a fundamental empirical process aimed at acquiring and codifying information about an entity, the object or system under measurement. This process is commonly interpreted in functional terms as a production process, accomplished by means of a measurement system, whose input is the system under measurement and whose output is a piece of information, the property value, about a certain instance of a general property of that system, the measurand. As a consequence, the central problem concerning the definition of measurement turns into the one of characterizing the just mentioned process. When an empirical general property is specified, any system under measurement can be viewed as a member of a class of systems characterized by that property. When provided with a set of relations between its elements, this class is called an empirical relational system and measurement can be conceived of as a mapping assigning numbers to elements of this system in such a way that the relations between these elements are preserved by relations between numbers in a numerical relational system. This is the model underlying the so-called representational theory of measurement, considered nowadays the standard measurement theory. According to this model to measure is to construct a representation of an empirical system to a numerical system, under the hypothesis that relations in the empirical system are somehow observable. The model has many merits, but it is also subject to many problems. In particular, the crucial drawback is given by the difficulty of linking the proposed conception of measurement with the way in which measurement is accounted for from a metrological point of view, specifically the point of view underlying the International Vocabulary of Metrology. Hence, the debate concerning the characterization of measurement is still open, where the principal task consists in defining a general model aiming at (i) providing a sound interpretation of measurement as structured process; (ii) identifying the ontological conditions to be fulfilled for measurement to be possible; (iii) identifying the epistemic conditions to be fulfilled for measurement results to be able to justify empirical assertions.
Key works The representational theory of measurement has its roots in the work of Scott and Suppes 1958 and has found its more extensive exposition in the three volumes of the Foundations of Measurement (1971, 1989, 1990), but see also Roberts 1985, for a more friendly presentation, and Narens 1985. The metrological standpoint is summarized in the International Vocabulary of Metrology (VIM). For a problematization of the representational theory see Domotor et al. 2008, where an analytical approach to measurement is developed, and Frigerio et al. 2010, where a synthesis between the representional approach and the metrological approach is proposed.
Introductions See Suppes 2002 for a general introduction to the representational standpoint.
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Contents
323 found
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  1. Is simulation a substitute for experimentation?Isabelle Peschard - manuscript
    It is sometimes said that simulation can serve as epistemic substitute for experimentation. Such a claim might be suggested by the fast-spreading use of computer simulation to investigate phenomena not accessible to experimentation (in astrophysics, ecology, economics, climatology, etc.). But what does that mean? The paper starts with a clarification of the terms of the issue and then focuses on two powerful arguments for the view that simulation and experimentation are ‘epistemically on a par’. One is based on the claim (...)
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  2. Ordinal Utility Differences.Jean Baccelli - forthcoming - Social Choice and Welfare.
    It is widely held that under ordinal utility, utility differences are ill-defined. Allegedly, for these to be well-defined (without turning to choice under risk or the like), one should adopt as a new kind of primitive quaternary relations, instead of the traditional binary relations underlying ordinal utility functions. Correlatively, it is also widely held that the key structural properties of quaternary relations are entirely arbitrary from an ordinal point of view. These properties would be, in a nutshell, the hallmark of (...)
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  3. Against Prohibition (Or, When Using Ordinal Scales to Compare Groups Is OK).Cristian Larroulet Philippi - forthcoming - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    There is a widely held view on measurement inferences, that goes back to Stevens’s ([1946]) theory of measurement scales and ‘permissible statistics’. This view defends the following prohibition: you should not make inferences from averages taken with ordinal scales (versus quantitative scales: interval or ratio). This prohibition is general—it applies to all ordinal scales—and it is sometimes endorsed without qualification. Adhering to it dramatically limits the research that the social and biomedical sciences can conduct. I provide a Bayesian analysis of (...)
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  4. The Epistemology of Measurement: Representational and Technological Dimensions.Nicola Moeßner & Alfred Nordmann (eds.) - forthcoming - Chatto & Pickering.
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  5. Visions visualised? On the evidential status of scientific visualisations.Nicola Mößner - forthcoming - In Erna Fiorentini (ed.), On Visualization. A Multicentric Critique beyond Infographics. Berlin et al.: LIT Verlag.
    ‘Visualisations play an important role in science’, this seems to be an uncontroversial statement today. Scientists not only use visual representations as means to communicate their research results in publications or talks, but also often as surrogates for their objects of interest during the process of research. Thus, we can make a distinction between two contexts of usage here, namely the explanatory and the exploratory context. The focus of this paper is on the latter one. Obviously, using visualisations as surrogates (...)
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  6. The Epistemic Privilege of Measurement: Motivating a Functionalist Account.Miguel Ohnesorge - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-16.
    Philosophers and metrologists have refuted the view that measurement’s epistemic privilege in scientific practice is explained by its theory-neutrality. Rather, they now explicitly appeal to the role that theories play in measurement. I formulate a challenge for this view: scientists sometimes ascribe epistemic privilege to measurements even if they lack a shared theory about their target quantity, which I illustrate through a case study from early geodesy. Drawing on that case, I argue that the epistemic privilege of measurement precedes shared (...)
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  7. Measurement in science.F. N. L. Poynter - forthcoming - History of Science.
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  8. Crossing the Threshold: An Epigenetic Alternative to Dimensional Accounts of Mental Disorders.Davide Serpico & Valentina Petrolini - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Recent trends in psychiatry involve a transition from categorical to dimensional frameworks, in which the boundary between health and pathology is understood as a difference in degree rather than as a difference in kind. A major tenet of dimensional approaches is that no qualitative distinction can be made between health and pathology. As a consequence, these approaches tend to characterize such a threshold as pragmatic or conventional in nature. However, dimensional approaches to psychopathology raise several epistemological and ontological issues. First, (...)
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  9. Characterizing and Measuring Racial Discrimination in Public Health Research.Morgan Thompson - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-32.
    Experiences of racial discrimination can seem to be caused by one’s race, a combination of social identities, or non-social features. In other words, racial discrimination can be intersectional or attributionally ambiguous. This poses challenges for current understandings and measurement tools of racial discrimination in public health research, such as the explanation of racial health disparities. Different kinds of discriminatory experiences plausibly produce different psychological effects that mediate their negative health impacts. Thus, multiple characterizations and measurements of racial discrimination are needed. (...)
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  10. Values in Psychometrics.Lisa D. Wijsen, Denny Borsboom & Anna Alexandrova - forthcoming - Perspectives on Psychological Science.
    When it originated in the late 19th century, psychometrics was a field with both a scientific and a social mission: psychometrics provided new methods for research into individual differences, and at the same time, these psychometric instruments were considered a means to create a new social order. In contrast, contemporary psychometrics - due to its highly technical nature and its limited involvement in substantive psychological research - has created the impression of being a value-free discipline. In this article, we develop (...)
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  11. Mapping Kinds in GIS and Cartography.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - forthcoming - In Catherine Kendig (ed.), Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice. Routledge. pp. 197-216.
    Geographic Information Science (GIS) is an interdisciplinary science aiming to detect and visually represent patterns in spatial data. GIS is used by businesses to determine where to open new stores and by conservation biologists to identify field study locations with relatively little anthropogenic influence. Products of GIS include topographic and thematic maps of the Earth’s surface, climate maps, and spatially referenced demographic graphs and charts. In addition to its social, political, and economic importance, GIS is of intrinsic philosophical interest due (...)
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  12. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions at 60.K. Brad Wray (ed.) - 2024 - Cambridge University Press.
    Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions has sold more than one million copies since its publication in 1962, is one of the most cited academic books of all time, and continues to be read and studied today. This volume of new essays evaluates the significance of Kuhn's classic book in its changing historical context, including its initial reception and its lasting effects. The essays explore the range of ideas which Kuhn made popular with his influential philosophy of science, including (...)
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  13. Tell Us What You Really Think: A think aloud protocol analysis of the verbal cognitive reflection test.Nick Byrd, Brianna Joseph, Gabriela Gongora & Miroslav Sirota - 2023 - Journal of Intelligence 11 (4).
    The standard interpretation of cognitive reflection tests assumes that correct responses are reflective and lured responses are unreflective. However, prior process-tracing of mathematical reflection tests has cast doubt on this interpretation. In two studies (N = 201), we deployed a validated think-aloud protocol in-person and online to test how this assumption is satisfied by the new, validated, less familiar, and less mathematical verbal Cognitive Reflection Test (vCRT). Importantly, thinking aloud did not disrupt test performance compared to a control group. Moreover, (...)
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  14. Measurement invariance, selection invariance, and fair selection revisited.Remco Heesen & Jan-Willem Romeijn - 2023 - Psychological Methods 28 (3):687-690.
    This note contains a corrective and a generalization of results by Borsboom et al. (2008), based on Heesen and Romeijn (2019). It highlights the relevance of insights from psychometrics beyond the context of psychological testing.
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  15. Comment on Gignac and Zajenkowski, “The Dunning-Kruger effect is (mostly) a statistical artefact: Valid approaches to testing the hypothesis with individual differences data”.Avram Hiller - 2023 - Intelligence 97 (March-April):101732.
    Gignac and Zajenkowski (2020) find that “the degree to which people mispredicted their objectively measured intelligence was equal across the whole spectrum of objectively measured intelligence”. This Comment shows that Gignac and Zajenkowski’s (2020) finding of homoscedasticity is likely the result of a recoding choice by the experimenters and does not in fact indicate that the Dunning-Kruger Effect is a mere statistical artifact. Specifically, Gignac and Zajenkowski (2020) recoded test subjects’ responses to a question regarding self-assessed comparative IQ onto a (...)
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  16. Are Models Our Tools Not Our Masters?Caspar Jacobs - 2023 - Synthese 202 (4):1-21.
    It is often claimed that one can avoid the kind of underdetermination that is a typical consequence of symmetries in physics by stipulating that symmetry-related models represent the same state of affairs (Leibniz Equivalence). But recent commentators (Dasgupta 2011; Pooley 2021; Pooley and Read 2021; Teitel 2021a) have responded that claims about the representational capacities of models are irrelevant to the issue of underdetermination, which concerns possible worlds themselves. In this paper I distinguish two versions of this objection: (1) that (...)
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  17. Dimensional Analysis: Essays on the Metaphysics and Epistemology of Quantities.Mahmoud Jalloh - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
    This dissertation draws upon historical studies of scientific practice and contemporary issues in the metaphysics and epistemology of science to account for the nature of physical quantities. My dissertation applies this integrated HPS approach to dimensional analysis—a logic for quantitative physical equations which respects the distinct dimensions of quantities (e.g. mass, length, charge). Dimensional analysis and its historical development serve both as subjects of study and as a sources for solutions to contemporary problems. The dissertation consists primarily of three related (...)
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  18. Should ordinary race talk be ontologically privileged? Moving social science into the philosophical mainstream.Kareem Khalifa & Richard Lauer - 2023 - Synthese 202 (5):1-26.
    The ontology of race is often seen as answering two central questions. First, do races exist? Second, if races do exist, then what are they? Consequently, determining the best methods for answering these questions falls within the metaontology of race. Within the ontology of race, it is common to select a privileged representation of race in order to draw ontological lessons. While ontological lessons are direct answers to the ontological questions raised above, privileged representations are the basis for inferring those (...)
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  19. Measurement Scepticism, Construct Validation, and Methodology of Well-Being Theorising.Victor Lange & Thor Grünbaum - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 10.
    Precise measurements of well-being would be of profound societal importance. Yet, the sceptical worry that we cannot use social science instruments and tests to measure well-being is widely discussed by philosophers and scientists. A recent and interesting philosophical argument has pointed to the psychometric procedures of construct validation to address this sceptical worry. The argument has proposed that these procedures could warrant confidence in our ability to measure well-being. The present paper evaluates whether this type of argument succeeds. The answer (...)
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  20. On the Challenges of Measurement in the Human Sciences.Cristian Larroulet Philippi - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    Measurement practices are central to most sciences. In the human sciences, however, it remains controversial whether the measurement of human attributes—depression, happiness, intelligence, etc.—has been successful. Are, say, widely used depression questionnaires valid measuring instruments? Can we trust self-reported happiness scales to deliver quantitative measurements as it is sometimes claimed? These and related questions are till today hotly disputed. There are two main frameworks under which human measurements are studied and criticized. One is the so-called construct validity framework. Here, criticisms (...)
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  21. Social Science, Policy and Democracy.Johanna Thoma - 2023 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 52 (1):5-41.
  22. Machine Learning, Misinformation, and Citizen Science.Adrian K. Yee - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 13 (56):1-24.
    Current methods of operationalizing concepts of misinformation in machine learning are often problematic given idiosyncrasies in their success conditions compared to other models employed in the natural and social sciences. The intrinsic value-ladenness of misinformation and the dynamic relationship between citizens' and social scientists' concepts of misinformation jointly suggest that both the construct legitimacy and the construct validity of these models needs to be assessed via more democratic criteria than has previously been recognized.
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  23. Measuring the non-existent: validity before measurement.Kino Zhao - 2023 - Philosophy of Science 90 (2):227–244.
    This paper examines the role existence plays in measurement validity. I argue that existing popular theories of measurement and of validity follow a correspondence framework, which starts by assuming that an entity exists in the real world with certain properties that allow it to be measurable. Drawing on literature from the sociology of measurement, I show that the correspondence framework faces several theoretical and practical challenges. I suggested the validity-first framework of measurement, which starts with a practice-based validation process as (...)
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  24. Kant’s Functional Cosmology: Teleology, Measurement, and Symbolic Representation in the Critique of Judgment.Silvia De Bianchi - 2022 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 12 (1):209-224.
    In the 1780s Kant’s critique of rational cosmology clearly identified the limits of theoretical cosmology in agreement with the doctrine of transcendental idealism of space and time. However, what seems to be less explored, and remains still a desideratum for the literature, is a thorough investigation of the implications of transcendental philosophy for Kant’s view of cosmology in the 1790s. This contribution fills this gap by investigating Kant’s view of teleology and measurement in the Critique of Judgment, exploring their implications (...)
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  25. Testing for Implicit Bias: Values, Psychometrics, and Science Communication.Nick Byrd & Morgan Thompson - 2022 - WIREs Cognitive Science.
    Our understanding of implicit bias and how to measure it has yet to be settled. Various debates between cognitive scientists are unresolved. Moreover, the public’s understanding of implicit bias tests continues to lag behind cognitive scientists’. These discrepancies pose potential problems. After all, a great deal of implicit bias research has been publicly funded. Further, implicit bias tests continue to feature in discourse about public- and private-sector policies surrounding discrimination, inequality, and even the purpose of science. We aim to do (...)
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  26. Why “sex as a biological variable” conflicts with precision medicine initiatives.Marina DiMarco, Helen Zhao & Marion Boulicault - 2022 - Cell Reports Medicine 10050 (3):1-3.
    Policies that require male-female sex comparisons in all areas of biomedical research conflict with the goal of improving health outcomes through context-sensitive individualization of medical care. Sex, like race, requires a rigorous, contextual approach in precision medicine. A “sex contextualist” approach to gender-inclusive medicine better aligns with this aim.
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  27. The usefulness of well-being temporalism.Gil Hersch - 2022 - Journal of Economic Methodology 30 (4):322-336.
    It is an open question whether well-being ought to primarily be understood as a temporal concept or whether it only makes sense to talk about a person’s well-being over their whole lifetime. In this article, I argue that how this principled philosophical disagreement is settled does not have substantive practical implications for well-being science and well-being policy. Trying to measure lifetime well-being directly is extremely challenging as well as unhelpful for guiding well-being public policy, while temporal well-being is both an (...)
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  28. Real quantitativeness: what formal investigations can(not) show. [REVIEW]Derek Lam - 2022 - Metascience 31 (1):125-128.
    Review: J. E. Wolff. The metaphysics of quantity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. 240 pp, $72.00 HB.
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  29. The quantification of intelligence in nineteenth-century craniology: an epistemology of measurement perspective.Michele Luchetti - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (4):1-29.
    Craniology – the practice of inferring intelligence differences from the measurement of human skulls – survived the dismissal of phrenology and remained a widely popular research program until the end of the nineteenth century. From the 1970s, historians and sociologists of science extensively focused on the explicit and implicit socio-cultural biases invalidating the evidence and claims that craniology produced. Building on this literature, I reassess the history of craniological practice from a different but complementary perspective that relies on recent developments (...)
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  30. Statistical significance and its critics: practicing damaging science, or damaging scientific practice?Deborah G. Mayo & David Hand - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-33.
    While the common procedure of statistical significance testing and its accompanying concept of p-values have long been surrounded by controversy, renewed concern has been triggered by the replication crisis in science. Many blame statistical significance tests themselves, and some regard them as sufficiently damaging to scientific practice as to warrant being abandoned. We take a contrary position, arguing that the central criticisms arise from misunderstanding and misusing the statistical tools, and that in fact the purported remedies themselves risk damaging science. (...)
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  31. Kant on the Mathematical Deficiency of Psychology.Michael Bennett McNulty - 2022 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 12 (2):485-509.
    Kant’s denial that psychology is a properly so-called natural science, owing to the lack of application of mathematics to inner sense, has garnered a great deal of attention from scholars. Although the interpretations of this claim are diverse, commentators by and large fail to ground their views on an account of Kant’s conception of applied mathematics. In this article, I develop such an account, according to which the application of mathematics to a natural science requires both a mathematical representation and (...)
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  32. Psychometric origins of depression.Susan McPherson & David Armstrong - 2022 - History of the Human Sciences 35 (3-4):127-143.
    This article examines the historical construction of depression over about a hundred years, employing the social life of methods as an explanatory framework. Specifically, it considers how emerging methodologies in the measurement of psychological constructs contributed to changes in epistemological approaches to mental illness and created the conditions of possibility for major shifts in the construction of depression. While depression was once seen as a feature of psychotic personality, measurement technologies made it possible for it to be reconstructed as changeable (...)
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  33. Pluralizing measurement: Physical geodesy's measurement problem and its resolution.Miguel Ohnesorge - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 96 (C):51-67.
    Derived measurements involve problems of coordination. Conducting them often requires detailed theoretical assumptions about their target, while such assumptions can lack sources of evidence that are independent from these very measurements. In this paper, I defend two claims about problems of coordination. I motivate both by a novel case study on a central measurement problem in the history of physical geodesy: the determination of the earth's ellipticity. First, I argue that the severity of problems of coordination varies according to scientists' (...)
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  34. Safety, Evidence, and Epistemic Luck.Michael J. Shaffer - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (1):121-134.
    This paper critically explores Timothy Williamson’s view of evidence, and it does so in light of the problem of epistemic luck. Williamson’s view of evidence is, of course, a crucially important aspect of his novel and influential “knowledge-first” epistemological project. Notoriously, one crucial thesis of this project is that one’s evidence is equivalent to what one knows. This has come to be known as the E = K thesis. This paper specifically addresses Williamson’s knowledge-first epistemology and the E = K (...)
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  35. Red herrings about relative measures: A response to Hoefer and Krauss.Jacob Stegenga - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 92 (C):56-59.
  36. Epistemic risk in methodological triangulation: the case of implicit attitudes.Morgan Thompson - 2022 - Synthese 201 (1):1-22.
    One important strategy for dealing with error in our methods is triangulation, or the use multiple methods to investigate the same object. Current accounts of triangulation assume that its primary function is to provide a confirmatory boost to hypotheses beyond what confirmation of each method alone could produce. Yet, researchers often use multiple methods to examine new constructs about which they are uncertain. For example, social psychologists use multiple indirect measures to provide convergent evidence about implicit attitudes, but how to (...)
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  37. Two Concepts of Belief Strength: Epistemic Confidence and Identity Centrality.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13:1-4.
    What does it mean to have “strong beliefs”? My thesis is that it can mean two very different things. That is, there are two distinct psychological features to which “strong belief” can refer, and these often come apart. I call the first feature epistemic confidence and the second identity centrality. They are conceptually distinct and, if we take ethnographies of religion seriously, distinct in fact as well. If that’s true, it’s methodologically important for the psychological sciences to have measures that (...)
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  38. Continuing After Species: An Afterword.Robert A. Wilson - 2022 - In John S. Wilkins, Igor Pavlinov & Frank Zachos (eds.), Species Problems and Beyond: Contemporary Issues in Philosophy and Practice. New York: Routledge. pp. 343-353.
    This afterword to Species and Beyond provides some reflections on species, with special attention to what I think the most significant developments have been in the thinking of biologists and philosophers working on species over the past 25 years, as well as some bad jokes.
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  39. Democratising Measurement: or Why Thick Concepts Call for Coproduction.Anna Alexandrova & Mark Fabian - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-23.
    Thick concepts, namely those concepts that describe and evaluate simultaneously, present a challenge to science. Since science does not have a monopoly on value judgments, what is responsible research involving such concepts? Using measurement of wellbeing as an example, we first present the options open to researchers wishing to study phenomena denoted by such concepts. We argue that while it is possible to treat these concepts as technical terms, or to make the relevant value judgment in-house, the responsible thing to (...)
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  40. Measuring Time with Fossils: A Start-Up Problem in Scientific Practice.Max Dresow - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):940-950.
    This article is about a start-up problem in scientific practice. Specifically, it is about the problem of justifying paleontological correlation—the practice of using fossils to establish time relations among fossiliferous rocks. Paleontological correlation was the key to assembling a geological timescale during the nineteenth century and remains an important practice in stratigraphic geology to this day. Yet contrary to philosophical expectations, this practice lacked a robust theoretical justification during the first half of the nineteenth century. This article examines what this (...)
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  41. What is an animal personality?Marie I. Kaiser & Caroline Müller - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (1):1-25.
    Individuals of many animal species are said to have a personality. It has been shown that some individuals are bolder than other individuals of the same species, or more sociable or more aggressive. In this paper, we analyse what it means to say that an animal has a personality. We clarify what an animal personality is, that is, its ontology, and how different personality concepts relate to each other, and we examine how personality traits are identified in biological practice. Our (...)
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  42. Valid for What? On the Very Idea of Unconditional Validity.Cristian Larroulet Philippi - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (2):151–175.
    What is a valid measuring instrument? Recent philosophy has attended to logic of justification of measures, such as construct validation, but not to the question of what it means for an instrument to be a valid measure of a construct. A prominent approach grounds validity in the existence of a causal link between the attribute and its detectable manifestations. Some of its proponents claim that, therefore, validity does not depend on pragmatics and research context. In this paper, I cast doubt (...)
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  43. On Measurement Scales: Neither Ordinal Nor Interval?Cristian Larroulet Philippi - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):929-939.
    There is a received view on measurement scales. It includes both a classification of scales and a set of prescriptions regarding measurement inferences. This article casts doubt on the adequacy of this received view. To do this, I propose an epistemic characterization of the ordinal/interval distinction, that is, one in terms of researchers’ beliefs. This novel characterization reveals the ordinal/interval distinction as too coarse grained and thus the received view as too restrictive of a framework for measurement research.
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  44. Calibration in Consciousness Science.Matthias Michel - 2021 - Erkenntnis (2):1-22.
    To study consciousness, scientists need to determine when participants are conscious and when they are not. They do so with consciousness detection procedures. A recurring skeptical argument against those procedures is that they cannot be calibrated: there is no way to make sure that detection outcomes are accurate. In this article, I address two main skeptical arguments purporting to show that consciousness scientists cannot calibrate detection procedures. I conclude that there is nothing wrong with calibration in consciousness science.
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  45. Theodolites at 20000 feet: Justifying precision measurement during the Trigonometrical Survey of Kashmir.Miguel Ohnesorge - 2021 - Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science 4 (75).
    This paper reconstructs the history of the trigonometrical surveying of Kashmir from 1855 to 1865. It highlights the strategies through which surveyors had to justify the employment of high-precision instruments and methods in Himalayan terrain. Only by tediously manipulating their institutional environment in India and Britain did the staff of the Kashmir survey manage to complete its operations in light of constant financial and physical hardship. To sustain their measurements, surveyors aligned themselves with various political projects, entertaining and shifting allegiances (...)
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  46. How Incoherent Measurement Succeeds: Coordination and Success in the Measurement of the Earth's Polar Flattening.Miguel Ohnesorge - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88 (C):245-262.
    The development of nineteenth-century geodetic measurement challenges the dominant coherentist account of measurement success. Coherentists argue that measurements of a quantity are epistemically successful if their numerical outcomes converge across varying contextual constraints. Aiming at numerical convergence, in turn, offers an operational aim for scientists to solve problems of coordination. Geodesists faced such a problem of coordination between two indicators of the earth’s ellipticity, which were both based on imperfect ellipsoid models. While not achieving numerical convergence, their measurements produced novel (...)
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  47. How uncertainty can save measurement from circularity and holism.Sophie Ritson & Kent Staley - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 85:155-165.
  48. Phrenology and the average person, 1840–1940.Fenneke Sysling - 2021 - History of the Human Sciences 34 (2):27-45.
    The popular science of phrenology is known for its preoccupation with geniuses and criminals, but this article shows that phrenologists also introduced ideas about the ‘average’ person. Popular phrenologists in the US and the UK examined the heads of their clients to give an indication of their character. Based on the publications of phrenologists and on a large collection of standardized charts with clients’ scores, this article analyses their definition of what they considered to be the ‘average’. It can be (...)
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  49. Beyond the metrological viewpoint.Jean Baccelli - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 1:56-61.
    The representational theory of measurement has long been the central paradigm in the philosophy of measurement. Such is not the case anymore, partly under the influence of the critique according to which RTM offers too poor descriptions of the measurement procedures actually followed in science. This can be called the metrological critique of RTM. I claim that the critique is partly irrelevant. This is because, in general, RTM is not in the business of describing measurement procedures, be it in idealized (...)
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  50. Understanding scientific types: holotypes, stratotypes, and measurement prototypes.Alisa Bokulich - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-28.
    At the intersection of taxonomy and nomenclature lies the scientific practice of typification. This practice occurs in biology with the use of holotypes (type specimens), in geology with the use of stratotypes, and in metrology with the use of measurement prototypes. In this paper I develop the first general definition of a scientific type and outline a new philosophical theory of types inspired by Pierre Duhem. I use this general framework to resolve the necessity-contingency debate about type specimens in philosophy (...)
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